A Year of Blogging #01: Having Something to Say

Ah, the life of a blogger. We all know the stereotype: some sort of (semi-)hipster sitting in a coffeeshop, with a classic literature book and a fancy ass camera beside them, while sipping a caramel latte and letting the words flow from their fingers to their computer screens. They have it together. They post regularly. They know how to keep up their social media presence. It’s exactly what I imagined the past year to be like. LIES, I TELL YOU. IT’S ALL LIES. In a few posts over the next few months I will tell you exactly what it is really like to maintain a blog.

LET ME START BY TALKING ABOUT FINDING TOPICS. Easy enough, you’d think. Find a niche and go krrrrazy. WELL WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A NICHE, DAMN IT? At first it was easy enough: I just wrote about anything that had to do with reading, writing, university life or dealing with ~emotions~. My life in a nutshell, basically, but generalised to the point that it was relatable to others. But my dear friends, you have no clue how easily you run out of interesting things to say when you want to consistently publish two posts a week. By November ’17, I was empty. Completely, utterly empty. I had nothing more to write about, and it felt awful.

Now over the past year I’ve figured out a few tricks to help keep the topics flowing despite the occasional writers block. First of all: series. I started my Influential Women series a while ago, and it’s been the best blogging decision I’ve made in a long time: it made the two-posts-a-week rule maintainable, and it wasn’t as hard as coming up with posts from scratch. All I needed was a name, and off I went. Important with series, though, is that it needs to be a topic you want to write about and readers are interested in. I know my Influential Women series has a lot of resonance with the readers of my blog, and I’ll keep it up for as long as people care for reading it, but eventually it’ll come to end.

Which brings me to the next thing to keep in mind: it’s important to come up with new things every now and then. The sad truth is that people get bored very easily – I can already tell you now that at least half of my readers stopped reading this post halfway through the second paragraph, because they simply didn’t care about such a specific writing-related topic like blogging. And that’s okay. As long as you know which topics your readers adore (like my posts about dogs, which still get views now even though I’ve written them months ago) and the ones that are less popular (like this one will very likely be), you can easily keep people interested. Just keep a healthy mix of “themes” to fall back on, and people will keep reading even when they weren’t really interested in some of the other themes you talked about.

The last thing that really helped me keep this blog alive is to not worry about views. When I first started blogging, I checked the amount of views a post got every five minutes or so. As of now, I hardly bother to check anymore, or at least not for specific posts (I still want to know how my blog is doing in general, obviously). When I stopped caring about views, I also stopped worrying on not updating my blog for a while. I took a break through December and January, partly because of exams, but mostly because I simply had no clue what to write about anymore, and it really helped me get the writing-mojo back. Yes, the views I got in general dropped significantly, but it doesn’t bother me much – what’s the point in writing for a lot of readers if you don’t have anything interesting to say, anyway?

I’m going to be brutally honest: to keep coming up with topics is probably one of the hardest things to do when it comes to blogging, but that should never stop you from maintaining a blog. When you write, you’re bound to get a writing block a few times. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write at all.

  • L. Parole

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